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HP Taps Microsoft as 'Preferred' Public Cloud Partner

With the shut down of its own public cloud service imminent, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is betting big on Microsoft Azure.

During the recent fourth-quarter earnings call -- the last for the 86-year-old Hewlett-Packard Co. before future earnings reports are split between HP Inc. and HPE -- CEO Meg Whitman revealed that HPE will tap Azure as a preferred public cloud provider. The move would give HP's Helion public cloud customers another option when that service is shuttered on Jan. 31.

"Microsoft shares our view of a hybrid IT approach for enterprises and we both see opportunity to simplify hybrid infrastructure for our customers," Whitman told analysts during the earnings call last week. "Going forward, Microsoft Azure will become a preferred public cloud partner. HPE will serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings. Overall the move to a hybrid cloud environment presents a significant growth opportunity for us and you can expect to hear more about our approach in the coming months."

Whitman could formally announce the partnership as early as this week during HPE's Discover conference, taking place in London.

It should be noted that Whitman described Azure as "a" preferred public cloud partner rather than "the" preferred partner. It's not surprising that HPE isn't forging an exclusive partnership with Microsoft, given that it has made a substantial investment in OpenStack and has the assets -- through its acquisition of Eucalyptus -- to offer private and hybrid clouds compatible with Amazon Web Services.

HPE's partnership with Microsoft goes beyond Azure. Earlier this month, HPE launched new consulting services for customers looking to roll out Windows 10-compatible applications. The offering includes cloud and mobility consulting services, as well as vertical industry application transformation.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.